Champagne: Good, Better, Best Options with Kimber Stonehouse of Sportsman's

Categories: Seasonal , Wine

From Ruinart's website.
Pop some bubbly!

Feel like popping some bubbly? (Hot tub not included.) There's no better excuse than New Year's eve to enjoy bubbles, but keep in mind not all Champagnes are created equal. In fact, some white bubbles are not even technically Champagne, they're sparkling wine. You don't have to be a sophisticated champagne drinker or a rapper with bottle service to know that there's a whole range of champagnes to savor. Here we break down the "good, better and best" options with help from Sportsman's Kimber Stonehouse.

See also:
- Champagne Chef's Table Dinner at Café Zuzu
- Turkey/Wine Pairings for Thanksgiving

It should be noted that Stonehouse really likes Champagne. " In my opinion, 'bubbles' are one of the best drinks we have as adults," she says. And it's true. What other alcoholic beverage can you get away with drinking before 11 a.m.? "When choosing your bubbles, it's important to think about the style you enjoy, not just the name brand." In other words, if you don't enjoy dry Champagne, don't splurge on an expensive bottle of dry Champagne; you will be disappointed.

Total Wine Stellina di notte prosecco.jpg
Stellina di notte prosecco from
Pretty good stuff.

By law the sweetness of a Champagne needs to be stated on the label and if you try a number of bubbles on the scale, you'll soon find one to suit you. The amount of sugar added after the second fermentation dictates the level of sweetness. Don't know what you like?
Here's a rough guide, since it's really confusing that "extra dry" isn't terribly dry:

Brut Natural or Brut Zéro (less than 3 grams of sugar per litre)
Extra Brut (less than 6 grams of sugar per litre)
Brut (less than 12 grams of sugar per litre)

As you increase the sweetness, you next come to
Extra-Sec, Extra Dry, Extra Seco (12 to 20 grams of sugar per litre)
Dry, Sec, Seco (17-35 grams of sugar per litre)
Demi-Sec, Semi-Seco (33-50 grams of sugar per litre)
Doux (50+ grams of sugar per litre )

And, onto the recommendations.

The Good

If you like a drier style, Stonehouse suggests JCB Rosé and for a bit more fruit and sugar, you might try Stellina di Notte Prosecco. If you like it really sweet, then Moscato d'Asti Italian dessert wine is great if you're a fan of really sweet bubbles. " It's fruity, sweet, and just the hint of bubbles with a little frizzanté that just tickles across the tongue, says Stonehouse. " These are good bottles at about $15 - $20 on the shelf, and are fantastic 'bang for your buck!'"

Location Info

Sportsman's Fine Wines & Spirits - CLOSED

3205 E. Camelback Road, Phoenix, AZ

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Rod Williams
Rod Williams

Alcohol destroys and there isn't a life on the planet that alcohol will not destroy, plant and mammal. Humans are not machines, we mammals are made of delicate membrane and alcohol eats it. There are other ways to celebrate that are not harmful. Do you believe that if everyone ingested alcohol to celebrate occasions, that our world would be even worse with skyrocketing auto accidents, deaths, broken homes and general instability from the ingested toxin. Being embalmed is being filled with alcohol and when the cadaver comes up into the poor food chain, the earth will GAG. Even though the earth has nourished us all of our lives, we give Her poison rather than healthy mammal meat?

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